The Umbrella Academy 3, the review: two families in conflict on Netflix

The review of the third season of The Umbrella Academy, the Netflix series based on the comic of the same name by Dark Horse Comics.

The Umbrella Academy 3: a still photo

After nearly two years of waiting, the Hargreeves family is up again Netflixas you can read in this review of The Umbrella Academy 3: third round for the adaptation of the comic published by Dark Horse, for the first time without apparent literary source (apparent, because the premise of this season is taken from the fourth volume, still unpublished, entitled Sparrow Academy). An expected return that keeps all the promises associated with the series but also continues to evolve, finding new ways to disrupt the lives of the seven brothers and transform them in an interesting way, with the striking example represented by the passage from Vanya to Viktor, consistent with the changes in the private life of his interpreter Elliot Page (as he did in the second season with his queer love storyline). And while other series have adapted to the pandemic by partially changing the setting, here the (imperceptible) change is perfectly in line with where we left the characters a couple of years ago. NB The review, without spoilers, is based on a preview of the complete season.

Umbrellas against sparrows

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The Umbrella Academy 3: an image from the third season

The second season of The Umbrella Academy ended with a second apocalypse averted, and the Hargreeves brothers back home. Except the house isn’t quite the same anymore: Sir Reginald (Colm Feore) is still alive, and instead of the group we know he’s trained a team known as Sparrow Academy, whose only member our people recognize is revenant Ben. Yes, it’s an alternate present, a timeline where Reginald never adopted Luther, Diego and company. Indeed, a timeline where, in theory, they just don’t exist. And as Five tries to figure out how to readjust the space-time continuum, new bad news arrives from the agency he worked for: the paradox created by their existence in a world where they should never have been born is leading to the annihilation of the universe, again. And if on the one hand what they had left behind in the 1960s has also fallen victim to the temporal alterations, on the other hand some surviving elements risk creating further damage …

The Umbrella Academy 2, Steve Blackman: “Time travel is a common fantasy”

From one apocalypse to another

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The Umbrella Academy 3: A picture from the series

On the third round, the series proves to have a greater awareness of the formulaic structure of the superhero genre, avoiding any attempt to hide the repetitive ups and downs that can characterize these stories: net of the expansion of the cast, each year involves a journey through time and a cataclysmic event to be averted, under penalty of total destruction of reality. A deliberately predictable mechanism, because inside it the showrunner inserts those little unpredictable moments that shuffle the cards even when the outcome is minimally obvious. The series itself openly acknowledges this pattern, making the characters themselves tell how they should act and then joke about it with its classic irreverence, almost like a science fiction scream based on time travel. And as in the second season, the balance between serious drama and self-deprecating action is maintained, mainly as regards the musical apparatus which here offers real dancing numbers to applause, already in the very first minutes of a third year that reaffirms the solidity of the work of writing and staging.

The Umbrella Academy 2, analysis of the ending: the consequences of the Apocalypse

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The Umbrella Academy 3: a scene from the third season

And from that point of view, the choice to focus on the Sparrow Academy was definitely a winner: essentially a mirror in which the members of Umbrella see all the dysfunctions as a family and as a group of heroes, a ploy to allow the series to reflect on nature for ten episodes, without ever losing sight of the main objective of entertaining with taste and intelligence, offering us protagonists that are always the same but still different (with Vanya / Viktor as the avatar par excellence of the changing nature of a show that remains faithful to himself). Until arriving, like the other years, to a conclusion that announces other interesting developments, with a new status quo that in reality, in the end, will always be consistent with the basic philosophy of the program: these seven weird heroes are a family , and for that very reason they shouldn’t try to save the world together.

Conclusions

Closing the review of The Umbrella Academy 3, we reiterate how the third season continues along a solid, captivating and irreverent path, still managing to surprise within a deliberately repeating mechanism.

Because we like it

  • The new entries into the cast are remarkable.
  • Justin H. Min is awesome as the new “bad” Ben.
  • The action and musical scenes remain a spectacular stylistic figure.

What’s wrong

  • Someone may be bothered by the repetitiveness of certain situations.

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